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Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe tags Boston’s Andrew Benintendi during a rundown in August. Benintendi may miss the remainder of the season. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

BOSTON — For the first time, the Red Sox are acknowledging that injured outfielder Andrew Benintendi may not return this season.

Benintendi was placed on the injured list with a strained right rib cage on Aug. 12 and hasn’t progressed to the point where he has resumed baseball activities yet. With only four weeks left in the season, the clock is ticking if Benintendi wants to play again in 2020.

Before Tuesday’s game, Manager Ron Roenicke admitted it’s possible that Benintendi’s season is over.

“I think that’s a possibility,” Roenicke said. “I hope somewhere along the lines here, we get rid of the soreness and he’s able to progress quickly. It’s just too hard to say.”

In a loss to the Rays on Aug. 11, Benintendi injured his side when he tripped and fell between second and third base. The 26-year-old had two hits in that game but is hitting just .103 with a single extra-base hit in 52 plate appearances this season.

Benintendi is still experiencing soreness in his side and has been able to run on the treadmill and do some incline walking. He no longer feels pain while sleeping, Roenicke said.

“He doesn’t have as much pain as he did before,” Roenicke said. “It’s still there. Any rotational activity, it’s still painful. Unfortunately, this thing is slow like we thought it possibly could be, and keeping him away from doing anything with baseball activities.”

The Red Sox traded Kevin Pillar to the Rockies on Monday, leaving just two pure outfielders – Jackie Bradley Jr. and Alex Verdugo – on the major-league roster. With Benintendi out, the club will turn to utility options like Yairo Munoz, Jose Peraza and Tzu-Wei Lin in addition to J.D. Martinez to fill the outfield vacancy.

The club is still hopeful Benintendi will be able to come back at some point.

“We’re still optimistic,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Monday. “As Ron said the other day, he’s coming along but he’s coming along slowly. Certainly, a little more slowly than we would have hoped when this originally happened. It’s the type of injury where you just have to respond to how the player is feeling and how he’s doing. It doesn’t change the big picture impact of the injury, but we just have to wait and see when he can get out there again.”

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